Effects of media violence on youth

Essay by drtaznCollege, UndergraduateA-, April 2006

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The effects of media violence and the ultimate desensitization of today's youth are causing mounting worries over children's development in such a technological world. The average child of today watches 5-6 hours of television, in which they are subsequently exposed to 100,000 violent acts in their mere childhood years (Gazziniga & Heatherton, 2003). It is undeniable that a child learns and therefore reacts accordingly to the stimulus they are exposed to. Such significant exposure has hence sparked growing concerns amongst parents over the detrimental effects of media violence exposure; through the forms of material such as television, movies and video games, to the youth of today. It is now clear that there is a direct relationship between media violence exposure and aggressive behaviour in both the short and long term.

With even more interactive media being now available for our children through the forms of the internet and video games numerous experiments have exposed children to media violence and observed violence and aggression levels.

In the short term media violence increases arousal and the unconscious urge to imitate the observed violent behaviours, where, in the long term it causes the perturbing decrease in negative emotional response, the virtual desensitization of our children (2). Concerns are also feared over different adverse reactions in children, including excessive fear of the world, as well as violent aggression and becoming less sensitive to suffering and pain (desensitization) (3). This recent research indisputably illustrates that the influence of violent media substantially increases the likelihood of violent and aggressive behaviour in children, in short and long term contexts (2). The level of concern of the impact on future social behaviour of our children has led to numerous experiments being carried out to conduct whether or not there is reason for trepidation.

While in the recent past...